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'Peace with the Police' in Lynchburg builds relationships between officers and community

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LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - Thursday night was the first ever Peace with the Police event. Organizers say they hope it will build better relationships between police officers and the public.

The event was held at the James Crossing Apartment Complex - an area that typically sees a high crime rate.

"I hope they hear us and hear our concerns, because it's not right to fear where you live," said Kelly Coles, who's lived in the area for five years.

Lynchburg police get up to 125 calls a month in the neighborhood. Police say they want a better understanding of residents in a more diverse population like the one at James Crossing Apartment Complex.

It's part of the police department's overall mission to be more diverse. Their force is made up of 15 percent minorities.

"We desperately want to look like the community we serve and currently have more work to do," said Major Todd Swisher, Lynchburg Police Department.

The event was also for people to understand what they should do or not do if they are confronted by police.

The commonwealth's attorney talked about people's rights. He says part of his job outside of the courtroom is reaching out to the community.

"My job is to do so much more," said Mike Doucette, commonwealth's attorney. "It's to stop crimes from happening in the first place, keep people from being victimized, keep people from having to go to jail if at all possible."